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Social Leadership Conclave, CII

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Date(s) - 01/12/2021
3:00 pm

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Dr. Rajesh Tandon gave the inaugural key note address at the Social Leadership Conclave hosted by CII. He stated that India is a highly stratified society, and a very under-organised society. A lot of our socio-economic activity is carried out in an informal way. Communities need to get organised and for that, communities need to come together with a shared interest. We tend to forget that marginalised communities are expose to longer periods of structural inequalities. Such communities need to learn and unlearn, which can help build individual and collective agency, and encourage such communities to take advantage of opportunities that come by. Using the competency of systematic organisation within the corporate sector can be used to build organisations; and in supporting and strengthening organisation of marginal farmers, youth, women and other communities.

Secondly, when investment comes to a new area, there is a gestation period for the investment to work. During the gestation period, we should start speaking to communities from the beginning about the adverse effect of the policy, instead of speaking to them after the bulldozers arrive. The latter causes a narrative of mistrust related to private businesses and also often causes violence. This model needs to be seen as part of society and not apart from society; thats why the social positioning of large corporates is so important. In the context of public health systems for eg, CSR should look at what will happen to those oxygen cylinders 3 years from now, how will these public health systems behave, whether they will be responsible organisations, accountable to the mandate they have been placed for.

Thirdly, Dr. Tandon spoke of supporting the cause of corporate citizenship. Private business, national, state and local governments need to behave in a responsible and sustainable manner. Sustainability is not just about doing business in new way, but about building organisations which are systematically organised. We need to see how as corporate citizens, do we engage with other actors in society so that mutual trust between other institutions is nurtured which is important for social capital, which is in turn important for financial capital.

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